WBEZ | Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel says no 'three-strike rule' over parks for Riot Fest http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-says-no-three-strike-rule-over-parks-riot-fest-112064 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/riot fest flickr.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>It looks like Riot Fest has a new home in Chicago.</p><p>Aldermen involved in the back and forth over the music festival&rsquo;s location said that after three years in Humboldt Park, the punk and rock music festival will move this year a few miles away in Douglas Park.</p><p>Many Chicagoans were unhappy with the condition of the West Side park after last summer&rsquo;s festival. Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26) said residents of Humboldt Park and the surrounding neighborhoods have been complaining to him about the state of the grounds ever since concert-goers and organizers left.</p><p>&ldquo;Four Sundays ago...two of the diamonds were unusable for the opening games of the softball league,&rdquo; Maldonado said. &ldquo;The impact to the local economy, although it was substantial the first and second year, the third year it wasn&rsquo;t there.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>So for now, Riot Fest is taking its party elsewhere. In a statement, Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn said he met with Ald. George Cardenas (12) about using Douglas Park and was, &ldquo;ecstatic&rdquo; at the response he got from their new aldermanic partner.</p><p>&ldquo;We are so very excited to get to know our new neighbors and to work with them to hold an event that is beneficial to the community, local businesses and the resident,&rdquo; Petryshyn said. &ldquo;Essentially, everything we have brought to Humboldt Park over the last three years.&rdquo;</p><p>After Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was pleased the festival chose to stay in the city, but issued a warning to organizers: Leave Douglas Park the way you find it.</p><p>&ldquo;They now know the people of Humboldt Park don&rsquo;t want them, I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s in their best interest to have a second park say &lsquo;We don&rsquo;t want you&rsquo; in Chicago,&rdquo; Emanuel told reporters. &ldquo;So they&rsquo;ve been put on notice to be a better citizen in holding this festival because if you go 0-for-2, we don&rsquo;t have a three-strike rule in the city of Chicago for you.&rdquo;</p><p>Ald. Cardenas said the Park District is set to put down a bond as insurance in the event Douglas Park sees some damage.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em>.</p></p> Wed, 20 May 2015 16:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-says-no-three-strike-rule-over-parks-riot-fest-112064 Emanuel calls on Chicagoans to prevent 'lost generation' http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-calls-chicagoans-prevent-lost-generation-112047 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Over the last week, Chicago&rsquo;s debt was dinged by three major credit agencies. And while the city&rsquo;s pension and financial crises loom large, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chose instead to kick off his second term with a speech that encourages Chicagoans to take action to prevent another &ldquo;lost generation&rdquo; of the city&rsquo;s disadvantaged youth.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s time to stop turning our heads and turning the channel,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s time for each of us to start breaking down those walls. We can&rsquo;t abandon the most vulnerable children to the gang and the gun. They have the potential and desire to be so much more.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel spoke at the Chicago Theatre, a change in venue from the previous inaugural festivities at Millennium Park. The city&rsquo;s 50 aldermen, Treasurer Kurt Summers and Clerk Susana Mendoza were also sworn in Monday.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s newest crop of politicians shared the stage with many familiar dignitaries like former Mayor Richard M. Daley and former President Bill Clinton, who received the most enthusiastic welcome from the audience; even more so than the mayor himself. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was not in attendance, though Mayor Emanuel attended his inauguration earlier this year.</p><p>Emanuel only briefly mentioned the city&rsquo;s fiscal woes during his remarks, calling the pressing pension and financial issues &ldquo;not of our making&rdquo; while his predecessor, Mayor Daley, sat just a few seats down from him on the stage.</p><p>&ldquo;Even in a time of fiscal challenges, we all need to do more for our young people who are economically and spiritually hungry,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;And we must come to realize that this is not just a problem for certain communities. Anything that stunts the hope and the expectations and the opportunities for thousands of young Chicagoans undermines Chicago&rsquo;s future. &rdquo; Emanuel said.&nbsp;</p><p>The mayor went on to say that government programs are a helpful resource toward this end, but they&rsquo;re not set up to provide &ldquo;a moral compass.&rdquo; He called on Chicago residents to become role models for young people, asking all to share the &ldquo;values that made you who you are.&rdquo;</p><p>Many in the audience, including progressive aldermen who are expected to be the mayor&rsquo;s largest critics this term, were pleased with the route the mayor chose for his speech.</p><p>A new member to the council and progressive caucus, David Moore (17), said it&rsquo;s not that the mayor doesn&rsquo;t care about pensions, but that Emanuel realizes &ldquo;our youth is our most important asset.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;If our youth are in trouble, then whether the pension crisis is solved or what, then Chicago is in trouble,&rdquo; Moore said.</p><p>Northside Alderman Joe Moore (49) said while it&rsquo;s true &ldquo;everyone&rdquo; was expecting to hear more about the city&rsquo;s finances, &ldquo;one issue is not necessarily to the exclusion of others.&rdquo;</p><p>Plus, he added: &ldquo;Trust me, we&rsquo;re gonna spend all summer hearing a lot about finances and a lot about how serious our fiscal crisis is.&rdquo;</p><p>The new city council will meet for the first time on Wednesday.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ city politics reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 18 May 2015 15:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-calls-chicagoans-prevent-lost-generation-112047 Rauner pitches 'turnaround' agenda to Chicago aldermen http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-pitches-turnaround-agenda-chicago-aldermen-111997 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/raunerface_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made a little history Wednesday, by becoming the first sitting governor to address City Council. In his speech to a tough crowd of pro-union aldermen, Rauner asked City Council members to be his &ldquo;partners&rdquo; in fixing both the state and city economies&mdash;but warned that there would be no bailout for the city of Chicago.</p><p>Before the governor even stepped foot inside the council chambers, aldermen and union members made sure their voices were heard.</p><p>Alderman Pat O&rsquo;Connor, floor leader for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, led the charge, calling Rauner&rsquo;s pitch for so-called right-to-work zones a &ldquo;damn shame.&rdquo;</p><blockquote><p><strong>Interactive: <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/rauner/" target="_blank">The Rauner Play-by-Play</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;When we talk about creating a &lsquo;right to work,&rsquo; what we&rsquo;re really creating is a right for the employer to hire at a lesser wage, to hire at lesser benefits, to hire people who will take the jobs away that we have secured through collective bargaining and to put them in the hands of individuals who have no concerns for workers,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor said, at times getting applause from union members in the council gallery.</p><p>When Rauner eventually arrived, he acknowledged the &ldquo;lions den&rdquo; he was walking into; but joked it was more like sitting down for dinner with his family, &ldquo;surrounded by Democrats with strong opinions who don&rsquo;t always agree with me.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite their differences, Rauner asked aldermen to work with him to address some of the financial burdens both the city and state face.</p><p>&ldquo;For Chicago to get what it wants, Illinois must get what it needs,&rdquo; Rauner said.</p><p>So far, what Chicago wants, or what Mayor Emanuel wants, is a list that includes assistance on pensions, a Chicago casino and, one topic Emanuel has really been pushing lately, relief for Chicago taxpayers who pay into both Chicago and suburban teacher pensions.</p><p>&ldquo;The governor rails against the anti-business environment and anti-economic, competitive environment of high taxes. I can&rsquo;t think of anything higher than two taxes when you only get the benefit of one,&rdquo; Emanuel told reporters after Rauner&rsquo;s speech.</p><p>Rauner didn&rsquo;t seem open to fixing that issue, as he says, &ldquo;folks outside of Chicago see Chicago getting its own special deal; receiving over half-a-billion dollars every year in net extra funding compared to the rest of the state school district.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Other news from Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting:</span></p><p>This was the final meeting of the current City Council, a time when members say goodbye to retiring aldermen, or those who lost their races for reelection. They also cast votes on any old business that aldermen want resolved before the next class begins its term. If you need a refresher on the list of aldermen who won&rsquo;t be returning next term, listen to this:</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204071490&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Aldermen also put their final stamp on an unprecedented $5.5 million reparations package for victims of torture under former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. Sponsoring Alderman Proco Joe Moreno read the names of victims who were in the City Council audience, drawing attention to what he called a historic day &ldquo;for Chicago, for this City Council and most importantly, for the victims of some horrific behavior that happened right here in Chicago--not Iraq, not Syria.&rdquo;</p><p>Attorneys for alleged Burge victims say their next step is working on the cases of 20 or so others who are still incarcerated.</p><p>Aldermen also signed off on some minor changes to the city&rsquo;s controversial red light camera program, including: requiring public community meetings before cameras are removed, moved or added; accelerating installation of pedestrian countdown timers on existing cameras; and adding a payment plan for motorists with &ldquo;financial hardship.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s City Politics reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Wed, 06 May 2015 18:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-pitches-turnaround-agenda-chicago-aldermen-111997 Sheriff Dart to investigate unlicensed rehab centers http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pr follow.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is vowing to investigate whether unlicensed rehab centers in Chicago are breaking any criminal laws.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">As WBEZ recently reported</a>, some of the people who end up at these unlicensed residences are heroin addicts who are sent to Chicago from Puerto Rico. &nbsp;They are told to expect well-appointed treatment centers with nurses and pools. Instead they often wind up in rundown residences, and when they don&rsquo;t get the care they need, some of them end up homeless or in jail.</p><p>Dart said he was disgusted to learn of the practice.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no one in good conscience on the other end, in Puerto Rico, who could say they&rsquo;re doing anything other than dumping hapless people in a foreign country,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;These folks are being misled at best &hellip; and the places they&rsquo;re being steered to, you wouldn&rsquo;t send anybody to in good conscience.&rdquo;</p><p>At least two people mentioned in WBEZ&rsquo;s recent story wound up in Cook County Jail.</p><p>Dart said one of the men, who used the alias Manuel, spent 50 days in the jail, for a cost to taxpayers of more than $7,000.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s expensive because once they find there&rsquo;s no services here, it&rsquo;s not as if they just hop back on the plane, no they&rsquo;re-one way tickets. And it&rsquo;s not as if they can go to plan B, there was no plan B. For many of them there&rsquo;s no family around either, so what&rsquo;s going to happen, they&rsquo;re going to end up in our hospitals, they&rsquo;re going to end up in our jails,&rdquo; Dart said.</p><p>While Dart saved his strongest words for those responsible in Puerto Rico, he also said local agencies need to step in.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t imagine there are not some criminal violations that are involved if you purport to be something that you&rsquo;re not and you end up harming people as a result of that,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re pushing our lawyers that we have in our office to see what it is that we can do.&rdquo;</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it">This American Life: Not It!</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>He also thinks other local agencies could do more.</p><p>&ldquo;I understand we are under all sorts of cuts throughout the state and the city and so on, but I thought at a minimum we would be having some cursory analysis of the different types of entities that put themselves out as treatment facilities,&rdquo; Dart said.</p><p>But the state and the city both say they aren&rsquo;t responsible.</p><p>Chicago mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said the city&rsquo;s health department looked into the story and determined that it was a state issue, because the state&rsquo;s Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse is responsible for licensing treatment centers.</p><p>But the director of that department, Theodora Binion, said her department doesn&rsquo;t get involved until someone applies for a license.</p><p>&ldquo;The city has jurisdiction over the actual buildings, what can happen in a building,&rdquo; Binion told WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/sets/morning-shift-april-23-2015">Morning Shift</a>. &ldquo;Zoning is not our area, nor is the building itself&hellip;. That would come from the city.&rdquo;</p><br /><p>But she said they are &ldquo;hoping to identify&rdquo; the people coming from Puerto Rico so as to help them get proper treatment.</p><p>&ldquo;Even though our jurisdiction &hellip; is fairly limited, we can talk to the people that are there and give them information about how they can get legitimate help,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Some of these residences are in Ald. Scott Waguespack&rsquo;s 32nd Ward.</p><p>Waguespack said such unlicensed, unofficial residences exist in a sort of legal gray area between the city and state. Still, he said the city should be doing more to make sure these places are up to snuff.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s pretty amazing that [the city] would try and push it off on the state,&rdquo; Waguespack said.</p><p>Waguespack said he will look at what is already in the zoning code for ways to &ldquo;rein in these businesses so they can&rsquo;t operate above the law.&rdquo; He also said he would explore ways the city could help the people being sent from Puerto Rico.</p><p>Waguespack also called on state officials to draft a law or policy that allowed Illinois government to regulate the centers.</p><p>While most officials said there is more the city or state could be doing to help, they were especially critical of the government of Puerto Rico for allowing - or even sanctioning - the practice.</p><p>Dart said they were an example &ldquo;of people at their absolute worst.&rdquo;</p><p>In a recent <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it?act=1">interview on This American Life</a>, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla acknowledged his state was giving heroin addicts one-way tickets to Chicago. But he insisted the addicts were getting good treatment here.</p><p>Since it has been revealed that often isn&rsquo;t the case, Padilla thus far has refused to do another &nbsp;interview explaining what he plans to do now.</p><p><em>Adriana Cardona-Maguigad contributed to this story. Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938 CPS Board president says Chicago schools under investigation http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-president-says-chicago-schools-under-investigation-111884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BoardOfEd1_0_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Officials with the nation&#39;s third-largest school district say federal authorities are &quot;investigating a matter&quot; at Chicago Public Schools.</p><p>In a statement released Wednesday, Chicago Board of Education president David Vitale says federal authorities requested interviews with several employees. He says the board was made aware of the investigation on Tuesday and is cooperating fully.</p><p>He did not offer details on the investigation. A spokesman for Chicago Public Schools didn&#39;t return a request for comment Wednesday.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters Wednesday that he didn&#39;t have further details. He says there isn&#39;t information yet on who&#39;s the target of the probe.</p></p> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-president-says-chicago-schools-under-investigation-111884 Black vote proves key in Chicago mayoral race http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/black-vote-proves-key-chicago-mayoral-race-111844 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chart.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Without the black vote, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wouldn&#39;t have won reelection.</p><p>Four years ago, Emanuel won most of the votes in black wards. On Tuesday, he repeated that performance in a runoff by receiving on average 57 percent of the vote in those South and West side wards.</p><p>To be sure, Emanuel also fared well with white voters, especially in affluent wards. Yet both Emanuel and challenger Cook County Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia jockeyed for the black vote. The candidates tailored their messages to the black voting bloc on schools and public safety. Emanuel even made an appearance on Nation of Islam-affiliated Munir Muhammad&rsquo;s show on public access television. Garcia had Jesse Jackson Sr. in his camp. Emanuel had Cong. Bobby Rush.</p><div id="responsive-embed-runoff">&nbsp;</div><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/runoff/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-runoff', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/runoff/child.html', {} ); }); </script><p>Emanuel emerged the victor. But what will black voters do with their clout? Political analyst Laura Washington said it can&rsquo;t be business as usual. Black voters need to flex their power.</p><p>&ldquo;They have to organize and they have to make demands. First of all, we have to come up with an agenda. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be a unified, universal agenda. But some smart, savvy political organizers, elected and otherwise, need to come up with a to-do list for Rahm Emanuel,&rdquo; Washington said.</p><p><strong>The need for an &lsquo;ask&rsquo;</strong></p><p>The reelected incumbent has pledged to be a better listener. But currently, there&rsquo;s no black policy agenda. There&rsquo;s no formal ask -- at least not publicly.<br /><br />Emanuel angered black voters with school closings and what some say was lack of attention to their communities. Garcia, the darling of grassroots activists, spoke of inclusiveness but didn&rsquo;t outline a specific black agenda.</p><p>Voters like Lindsey Sorrell expressed frustration with economic inequality in the city.</p><p>&ldquo;When you go down that stretch, the far South Side, it&rsquo;s like a barren wasteland. There&rsquo;s no type of economic wealth at all. They have a chamber of commerce. But for what?&rdquo; Sorrell said.</p><p>The last time the black vote mattered as much in a Chicago mayoral race goes back three decades to the days of Harold Washington. Back then the voter turnout in his 1983 and 1987 elections reached up to 80 percent across the city. Blacks and independent white voters helped put him in office. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley never needed the black voting bloc; his coalition consisted of Hispanics, white ethnics and white lakefront voters. And subsequently, voter turnout plummeted to as low as 32 percent.</p><p>The April 7 runoff voter turnout hit close to 40 percent, up several points from the February race.</p><p>Northeastern Illinois University&rsquo;s Robert Starks said blacks also played a big role in Garcia&rsquo;s campaign.</p><p>&ldquo;Garcia campaign proved that there is the possibility of a strong independent black-brown progressive coalition&rdquo; Starks said.</p><p>But Starks takes the long view on the political cycle.</p><p>He says that means, &ldquo;Selecting a set of candidates that we can begin grooming, particularly young blacks and women. We have pretty much overlooked the potential of black women in this whole scheme.&rdquo;</p><p>Starks said the community can&rsquo;t wait until six months before the next election. Preparations need to begin now.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a></em></p><p><em>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/black-vote-proves-key-chicago-mayoral-race-111844 Emanuel wins re-election over Garcia in race for Chicago mayor http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-wins-re-election-over-garcia-race-chicago-mayor-111840 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm for hp.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rahm Emanuel won re-election Tuesday as voters in Chicago&#39;s first mayoral runoff decided that, despite his brusque management style, the former White House chief of staff was best equipped to deal with the many dire challenges facing the nation&#39;s third-largest city.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Map: <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/elections/2015/runoff-map/" target="_blank">2015 Runoff Election Results</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Emanuel was forced to campaign furiously across the city to beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia after failing to capture a majority against four other candidates in a February election. The mayoral runoff was the first since the city changed the way it conducts elections about 20 years ago.</p><p>&quot;To all the voters I want to thank you for putting me through my paces,&quot; Emanuel told supporters Tuesday night. &quot;I will be a better mayor because of that. I will carry your voices, your concerns into ... the mayor&#39;s office.&quot;</p><p>With nearly all voting precincts reporting results, Emanuel had about 56 percent of the vote compared to around 44 percent for Garcia.</p><p>&quot;We didn&#39;t lose today, we tried,&quot; Garcia told supporters gathered at the University of Illinois at Chicago. &quot;We fought hard for what we believed in. You don&#39;t succeed at this or anything else unless you try.&quot;</p><p>The incumbent highlighted tough decisions he&#39;s made since succeeding former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2011, but admitted that his management approach too often rubbed city residents the wrong way. He portrayed Garcia as too inexperienced to handle the city&#39;s financial crunch.</p><p>Many of those heading to the polls Tuesday said the election should be a signal.</p><p>&quot;Hopefully he (Emanuel) takes heed of the runoff when he should have been a shoo-in,&quot; said Richard Rowe, a 50-year-old, who planned to vote for the incumbent.</p><p>Jesus Fernandez, a 44-year-old window washer who voted for Garcia, had the same view.</p><p>&quot;If he (Garcia) gets close, we might push Rahm to do something,&quot; Fernandez said. &quot;At least we push him a little bit.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel raised far more money than Garcia, plastered the airwaves with ads and had support from his former boss, President Barack Obama, who cast an early ballot for him from Washington.</p><p>The mayor faces huge obstacles in his second term, from fixing the worst-funded pension systems of any big U.S. city to stemming stubborn violence and confronting labor unions that just spent millions trying to defeat him.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s four pension systems are about $20 billion in debt, and the fund for Chicago Public Schools teachers is short about $7 billion of what&#39;s needed to pay benefits as promised.</p><p>If Emanuel can&#39;t work a deal with labor unions or get the Illinois Legislature to approve relief, the city is on the hook for an additional $550 million payment to the retirement accounts, bringing the total payment to about $1 billion. He&#39;s said that would be roughly equal to the annual cost of having 4,300 police officers on the street or raising property taxes by 150 percent.</p><p>Emanuel also must deal with ongoing concerns about crime, one of the areas Garcia hit him on repeatedly during the election. After a spike in homicides early in his first term, the number fell to the lowest level in a half-century though the number of shootings has climbed 12 percent.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m proud of what we&#39;ve accomplished in these past four years, but I understand the challenges we face will require me to approach them differently and to work in a different fashion,&quot; Emanuel said. &quot;The only way to meet these challenges is to bridge the gaps between the things that divide us and start focusing on the things that unite us and bring us together.&quot;</p><p>Garcia, a former community organizer, alderman and state lawmaker, ran a campaign focused on the city&#39;s neighborhoods, with support from teachers and unions upset with Emanuel. He accused the mayor of being out of touch with voters and blamed him for the fiscal problems, while playing up the mayor&#39;s push to close about 50 schools and a gang violence problem that spiked during Emanuel&#39;s first term.</p><p>He also vowed to end Chicago&#39;s troubled red-light camera system, which some residents believe is discriminatory and focuses more on revenue than safety.</p><p>Election officials said more than 142,300 Chicago voters cast early ballots for the runoff, far outpacing early voting turnout in February and four years ago.</p></p> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 19:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-wins-re-election-over-garcia-race-chicago-mayor-111840 The Road to Election Day http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/road-election-day-111832 <p><p>This is it: The conclusion of the historic mayoral runoff election in Chicago has arrived. WBEZ&rsquo;s political duo Lauren Chooljian and Tony Arnold have been following incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Cook County Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia all around the city leading up to the April 7th election.<br /><br />On the last full day of campaigning, the candidates spent their time in the parts of the city where they&rsquo;re expected to do best. Emanuel ate breakfast in Lakeview and Garcia riled up supporters in Pilsen.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/199572170&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/iframe&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Listen to other snapshots of Emanuel and Garcia&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;rsquo;s days on the campaign path below.&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe></p><p>Listen to other snapshots of Emanuel and Garcia&rsquo;s days on the campaign path below.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/96308850&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian and Tony Arnold are WBEZ political reporters. Follow them <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/road-election-day-111832 In mayoral campaign's 11th hour, Emanuel meets with critics of police http://www.wbez.org/news/mayoral-campaigns-11th-hour-emanuel-meets-critics-police-111830 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Knox THUMNAIL square.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A social-justice coalition representing religious congregations and senior citizens is praising Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for meeting with them about police accountability &mdash; and complaining that his words at the gathering fell far short of their demands.</p><p>Rev. Eddie Knox Jr., pastor of Pullman Presbyterian Church, says the activists had been trying since October to get a meeting with Emanuel but could not nail him down, even as the police conduct issue boiled over in the wake of an officer&rsquo;s fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.</p><p>&ldquo;Congregations heard over and over again &mdash; in our neighborhood canvasses &mdash; that our communities were being terrorized by police,&rdquo; Knox said.</p><p dir="ltr">The Emanuel meeting took place in his City Hall office Saturday morning and lasted almost an hour &mdash; a distraction from the campaign trail during the last weekend before voters decide whether to reelect him Tuesday. The meeting included several of Emanuel&rsquo;s senior staff members but not police Supt. Garry McCarthy.</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition includes the Community Renewal Society, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America. The ages and religious bent of the activists distinguish them from the young adults and leftists who have led many Chicago street protests since the Ferguson shooting.</p><p dir="ltr">The demands span three topics: the police department&rsquo;s body-camera program, the department&rsquo;s &ldquo;stop-and-frisk&rdquo; tactics, and the city&rsquo;s police-oversight agencies.</p><p dir="ltr">On the body cameras, Rev. Sara Wohlleb of the Latin America network said the coalition wants &ldquo;discipline for officers who fail to turn on the camera during any interaction with the public&rdquo; and discipline for the supervisors of those officers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We also need the assurance that the recording will never be erased by the police department or any authority,&rdquo; Wohlleb said. &ldquo;We are asking for disclosure of videos and, in the case of flagged recordings where there&rsquo;s a particular concern, we need that recording to be released to the public. We are also asking for public participation in the evaluation of the program.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">On the stop-and-frisk tactics, the coalition is demanding that data on the stops be collected and made public, that training for officers about legal requirements be improved, and that the people who are stopped get detailed receipts.</p><p dir="ltr">On police oversight, the coalition is calling for a &ldquo;complete&rdquo; overhaul of the Independent Police Review Authority, a city agency <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194" target="_blank">now led by former law-enforcement personnel</a>, the activists noted. They also called for an independent police auditor or an &ldquo;elected civilian accountability council.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition criticized the police department&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank">handling of indicted Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a> and demanded that the police chief no longer be able to &ldquo;alter, adjust, veto or fight&rdquo; steps recommended by IPRA or the police department&rsquo;s Internal Affairs Division.</p><p dir="ltr">A statement from Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s office calls the meeting &ldquo;positive and productive&rdquo; and says the city is already implementing some of the proposals, including discipline for officers who do not use their body cameras. The statement also says state law and the city&rsquo;s contract with the police union would block some of the proposals. The mayor&rsquo;s office agreed to another meeting with the coalition by early next month.</p><p>Speakers at the press conference included three of the most prominent supporters of Emanuel&rsquo;s mayoral challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesús Chuy García. Those three were Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele. Their role led to questions about whether the coalition was trying to hurt Emanuel in Tuesday&rsquo;s election.</p><p>Nora Gaines of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus responded. &ldquo;People have been asking to meet with the mayor for months and months,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The mayor chose to meet with us this Saturday morning before the election. You would have to ask him why he did that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Asked about the meeting&rsquo;s timing, a spokesman for the mayor did not answer.</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition said it had met with García and that he had promised, if elected mayor, to approach police accountability with more &ldquo;sensitivity.&rdquo; But the issue has taken a backseat in García&rsquo;s mayoral campaign. Instead the challenger has pledged to hire 1,000 new police officers &mdash; something he says Emanuel promised four years ago.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayoral-campaigns-11th-hour-emanuel-meets-critics-police-111830 Emanuel backed by tech's most powerful players http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-backed-techs-most-powerful-players-111814 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm-google-AP-Photo-Charles-Dharapak-01282009_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to make a stop Thursday with one of his coziest constituencies: Chicago&rsquo;s tech community.</p><p>It turns out, the warm, fuzzy feeling between the two is mutual.</p><p>One of Emanuel&rsquo;s major successes as mayor has been his courting of tech companies. During his reelection campaign, Emanuel has touted the jobs he&rsquo;s brought to the city, especially from tech companies.</p><p><a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140815/BLOGS11/140819897/chicagos-tech-job-growth-near-the-top-of-u-s-cities">Chicago added nearly 12,000 tech jobs from 2011 to 2013 according to a report from CBRE Inc</a>.</p><p>With Google in the West Loop and Motorola Mobility in Merchandise Mart alongside local startups like Braintree, Chicago has been boosted by the tech community.</p><p>And so has Mayor Emanuel.</p><p>A scroll through donor lists to Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s campaign reads like the Fortune 500 list for tech. It includes not just the most well-known names in Chicago&rsquo;s tech community, but also the heads of Apple, Google and Microsoft, all donating since Emanuel began his first run for mayor in 2010.</p><ul><li>Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google; donated $55,300 last year, including $50,000 in December</li><li>Steve Ballmer, retired CEO of Microsoft and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers; donated $15,300 since 2013, including $10,000 in January</li><li>Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; donated $35,700</li><li>The late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple; donated $50,000 in 2010, while his wife Laurene Powell Jobs has contributed $55,300.</li><li>Elon Musk, head of Tesla and SpaceX; has contributed $55,300 since 2013</li></ul><p>Julie Samuels, executive director of tech lobby group Engine, said that for a long time the tech industry didn&rsquo;t want to engage in politics, but has become more comfortable interacting with candidates.</p><p>&ldquo;I think you&rsquo;re seeing them get involved because the industry is maturing,&rdquo; Samuels said.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Search Chicago poltical donations with our <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/campaigncash/">Campaign Finance Tracker</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>What&rsquo;s unusual in Emanuel&rsquo;s case is that most heads of global tech companies don&rsquo;t involve themselves with local elections.</p><p>According to <a href="http://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=785381&amp;default=contributor">FollowTheMoney.org, Schmidt has contributed $888,055 to 53 different campaigns</a>, but Emanuel is the only mayoral candidate on that list. The same is true for Ballmer and Musk.</p><p>Facebook&rsquo;s Sandberg has backed two other mayoral candidates; Adrian Fenty in Washington, D.C., and Christine Quinn in New York. Both lost in primaries.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s tech community has been <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150331/BLOGS11/150339968/chicago-techies-rally-round-emanuel">very vocal</a> in its support for Emanuel, especially since the Feb. 24 election when challenger Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia pushed the mayor into a runoff.</p><p>The tech sector&rsquo;s share of Emanuel&rsquo;s overall war chest is relatively small. Emanuel has raised more than $40 million for associated campaign committees since he started running for mayor in 2010.</p><p>Emanuel has raised a little more than $1 million from the tech world, according to an analysis of data from the Illinois State Board of Elections.</p><p>The Center for Responsive Politics tracks the tech community&rsquo;s donations at the federal level. According to research director Sarah Bryner, $1 million for a single candidate is exceptional.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a lot of money,&rdquo; said Bryner of the Washington-based campaign finance watchdog group. &ldquo;Just as point of comparison, the top candidate receiving money from this industry in our books was Corey Booker, who took in $405,000 for a Senate race.&rdquo;</p><p>Bryner says Silicon Valley&rsquo;s political involvement in Chicago is a natural evolution from its growing political savvy at the federal level. That&rsquo;s especially true of companies like Google and since President Barack Obama has come on the scene. Much of that involvement has also come from Obama&rsquo;s efforts to cultivate relationships with the tech community.</p><p>Engine&rsquo;s Julie Samuels says Mayor Emanuel has now also tapped into those relationships with Silicon Valley, which go back to his time in the Clinton administration.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you&rsquo;ll see people getting involved in the race over a random alderman or some other local position,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s something specific to this particular mayor, this particular moment.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Samuels expects to see more tech companies getting involved in state and local politics because many issues, especially those involving sharing economy companies like Uber and AirBnB, are first hashed out in cities and states. (WBEZ&rsquo;s research shows that neither Uber nor AirBnB executives or the companies themselves donated to Emanuel or Garcia&rsquo;s campaigns.)</p><p>&ldquo;So much regulation that affects these companies happens at the local level,&rdquo; Samuels said. &ldquo;These companies &mdash; even when they&rsquo;re not based in Chicago &mdash; they play a huge role in our lives.&rdquo;</p><p>While national figures have more name recognition, some of the largest dollar figures have come from Chicago tech companies.</p><p>Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky gave more than $400,000 to Emanuel&rsquo;s campaign. A Groupon spokesman said Lefkofsky was traveling and was unable to comment.</p><p>Venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker donated $167,000, while Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto added $160,000.</p><p>1871 CEO Howard Tullman, who has donated $5,300, dismissed notions that campaign contributions to Emanuel meant more access.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think people who contribute to him think they are buying much of anything,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;He is independent and objective and tells it like it is.&rdquo;</p><p>Tullman has known Emanuel for decades. He says he supports Emanuel because he feels the mayor understands and advocates for the tech industry. He points to job growth within the Merchandise Mart &mdash; especially Motorola Mobility &mdash; as proof.</p><p>&ldquo;Motorola had a chance to go to Sunnyvale [California] or Chicago. That was a lot of lobbying by Rahm and other city leaders to retain them and that&rsquo;s thousands of jobs. Ultimately he&rsquo;s been really good for that,&rdquo; Tullman said.</p><p>With those gains, leaders in Chicago&rsquo;s tech industry want to avoid any possibility of breaking that momentum</p><p>&ldquo;I would really hate to take three steps back and say why don&rsquo;t we give somebody a trial or learn on the job and learn how to do this?&rdquo; Tullman said.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/chrishagan"><em>Chris Hagan</em></a><em> is a WBEZ web producer. </em><a href="https://twitter.com/nialaboodhoo"><em>Niala Boodhoo</em></a><em> is host of WBEZ&rsquo;s Afternoon Shift.</em></p></p> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-backed-techs-most-powerful-players-111814